One of our main priorities is responding to the climate crisis and the broader environmental crises facing our planet. It’s a priority for us all, individually and corporately. Diocesan Synod has declared a climate emergency and set ambitious but clear targets for reaching net zero. An Environment Task Group (ETG) is overseeing an ambitious programme of change and, already, we are investing over £200,000 during the next seven years on a carbon footprint reduction programme across our church buildings.
In our own lives, our churches, our schools and other diocesan institutions, we’re working to be agents of change — taking practical action, bringing the issues before God in prayer, undertaking advocacy at every level of government, standing in solidarity with our overseas partners, calling for disinvestment from fossil fuel companies whose plans aren’t in line with the Paris Agreement, and seeking to support a just transition locally and globally.
To find out more about our Christian calling to care for God’s world, and what individuals and churches can do and are doing, explore the EcoHub. To keep up to date on the latest issues, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow our Twitter feed @earthingfaith. Join our Care for Creation Facebook Group to connect with environmentally-minded people. We encourage schools and children’s groups to join in with our Be The Change programme (which fits with SIAMs guidance,) to make a difference where you are.
Be The Change
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Reaching Net Zero
The diocese is aiming to reach ‘net zero‘ – the point at which we are no longer contributing to climate change. We’ve got two goals: the national Church of England 2030 net-zero carbon goals, which cover buildings and transport, and our wider diocesan goal of reaching net zero in full by 2035.
Everyone has a part to play. We offer advice on simple starting places for churches via our Parish Pathway and further information via the Net Zero Zone of our EcoHub. Do consider using our subsidised energy audit offer to guide your steps.
The first step is to stand up and be counted! We need your church to help us with our baseline figures by completing the Energy Footprint Tool 2019 form and 2020 form if you haven’t already done so please.
Thank you! This data is vital to setting us all up to start our journey well.
We would like to encourage all churches to register with A Rocha UK’s Eco Church scheme. It’s a great way to engage your whole congregation in care for creation. Read about some of our churches with awards.
You start off by completing a survey of parish life that covers five areas: worship and teaching, buildings, land, lifestyle, and community and global engagement. As you work through it, points are gathered towards a bronze, silver or gold Eco Church Award. You may be surprised to find out how many points you’ve already gained – and the survey will show where you can pick up more.
Our EcoHub includes resources relevant to each of the Eco Church sections. And if you’d like further inspiration, take a look at what churches around you are doing. This map shows the churches which are registered and have awards in our diocese so far. Let us know when your church has registered and we can add it to the map.
Children and Young People
Be The Change – September to January
Schools, parishes, children’s and youth groups are invited to take part in Be the Change days during the autumn and winter terms. Resources are being provided for you to hold a Be Carbon Free day, a Be Vocal day (to share messages for MPs), have a Glitter Free Christmas (to reduce microplastic pollution) and a Be Plastic Free day in January. Please contribute successful lesson and session plans on environmental and climate issues to our Ideas Bank, to be shared to inspire other teachers and group leaders.
YCCN Relay to COP26 – passed through our diocese in July and August
The Relay to COP26 was a youth-led initiative to raise awareness of climate justice and the need for bold commitments at COP26. Many of our parishes were able to #RiseToTheMoment and support it as it passed by. This page recorded the Relay’s progress through our diocese on their way to Glasgow.
Eco Youth Forum
The Bishop of Reading invited young people (aged 13-18) to a hosted conversation exploring faith, the environment and climate crises, and justice. It was a valuable opportunity for the views of young people to be heard, both their messages for the church and for political leaders; they will inform our work. If your youth group would like to join in with future events, do get in touch.
Support for your journey
Just starting your care for creation journey? Or well on the way, but have run into a roadblock? We have a helpdesk for queries that you may have.
Investigate our EcoHub one stop shop for environmental resources.
We produce a monthly Care for Creation newsletter of topical information and resources. You can view back issues and subscribe here – together with all our news posts on environmental matters and events.
If you’re interested in doing some more in-depth learning, we’re developing new tools that help parishes engage and share with each other. This year we’ve worked with The Climate Action Unit of University College London to pilot the InSpire Programme. This programme is designed to help participants understand the diversity of opinions of what constitutes meaningful climate action; to equip them with an understanding of the challenges of delivering climate action; enable them to develop their own approaches to climate action; and to provide practical tools to engage their communities in delivering climate action. Contact us if you are interested in further runs of this programme.
There are also a number of Continuing Ministerial Development (CMD) courses being developed.
Further information about the Environment Action Programme.